Knoxville’s Trusted Experts in Eyewear Since 1943

Steve Clancy is an optician, native Knoxvillian, and 3rd generation owner of Clancy Optical located in Franklin Square and SPEX located in the Kingston Pike Shopping Center in Bearden. He and his wife, interior designer Paula Clancy, have been married for more than 25 years – both have thriving businesses known for specialized expertise and long-term client relationships. Steve talked to Everything Knoxville about carrying on the tradition of excellent optical care and up-to-date eyeglass choices. 

EK: Wow! 3rd generation? Tell us about Clancy Optical’s beginnings.

Steve: As the very first optical store in Knoxville, my grandfather, Art Clancy, Sr., opened Clancy Optical Company back in 1943. We continue to be one of Knoxville’s oldest and longest standing businesses. During the past 70+ years, many Clancy family members – including sons, daughters, cousins, and in-laws – have worked there. My dad, Art Clancy, Jr., joined the business in 1958 and was with Clancy Optical for more than 50 years. There he served as president, receiving numerous awards and recognition in the optical field on local, state, national, and international levels.

EK: That is quite a legacy – when and how did you become involved in the family business?

Steve: I became a licensed optician and began my career with the company in 1982. I was able to work side-by-side with my grandfather and father, learning skills only they could teach, which I feel sets me apart from others in my field. With more than 38 years of experience, I am proud to carry on the legacy of Clancy Optical.

EK: How has your business grown over the years?

Steve: By providing exceptional customer service, our knowledgeable staff focuses on relationship building that has led to many repeat clients. This has allowed us to successfully carry on and expand. In addition to our original store, we opened SPEX, a division of Clancy Optical, in the Bearden area in 2004. With the Franklin Square location offering classic and more traditional frame lines, SPEX specializes in fashion forward and contemporary eyeglass styles. 

EK: What sets Clancy Optical apart from your competitors?

Steve: My staff and I strive to bring the best possible products and service to our client base through continuing education and by attending optical conventions and trade shows. I am very selective about the brands we sell – always making sure the products are of the very highest quality. Both SPEX and Clancy Optical carry lines exclusive to the company, including Danish line LINDBERG, Götti from Switzerland, French line Anne & Valentin, and Japanese Barton Perreira. SPEX also carries the high-end fashion brand Celine, Tom Ford, and Oliver Peoples. We also hold the largest Maui Jim sunglass inventory in the Knoxville market. 

EK: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?

Steve: I really love what I do. I love knowing I am helping someone improve their quality of life. If you are tired of the run-of-the-mill eyewear and lack of personal service found in the big chains, try Clancy Optical and SPEX. We offer exclusive brands that can’t be found anywhere else in town. Our lines are chosen for their craftsmanship, quality, and uniqueness – the best of the best! Call us or stop by one of our stores to see our wide selection of beautiful frames. 

Clancy Optical

9700 Kingston Pike, Suite 15
Knoxville, TN 37922

SPEX Contemporary Eyewear

4620 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37919